Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Parables in Matthew 13 at Feminist theology

When you only read or hear the parts of the Bible which are in Sunday lectionaries you miss out so much.
This evening at our feminist theology group Anne-Claire Rivollet (who is the Roman Catholic director of the ecumenical catechism centre in Geneva) gave us the whole of chapter 13 Matthew's gospel to read, dissect and discuss. In the end we also put it back together again by asking ourselves whether our own Christian vocation is in some way a parable.
Anne-Claire began by saying Jesus taught in parables perhaps not to be understood but to encourage people to search further to go deeper into their lives. In some way although they can seem very familiar parables come from elsewhere and encourage us in some way to go elsewhere in our own lives.
Chapter 13 in Matthew groups together many familiar parables in an extraordinarily intense parable teaching session. When you only read one or two parables at a time you don't get the same impression as when you read them all together like this.

As always with any longer reading of the Bible, I always discover things I don't ever remember having read before. Tonight it was a small parable that I almost want to call the calligrapher's parable. Here it is:

"And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’"

So I suppose I'd better keep training for the kingdom of the heaven ... hmm sleep I think.


Deirdre said...

Look at the location of Matthew 13 in the gospel. Jesus is teaching the disciples and other followers as they begin to form a community. So the observation about parables and Christian vocation fits well.

Matthew is a scribe trained for the kingdom not so much a preacher like Paul or Jesus! There is something self-conscious about this description that removes it from orality and into intentional reflection upon interpretation of old and new. A calligrapher's parable yes but more!

Jane said...

Thanks so much Deirdre. I'll pass your comments on to Anne-Claire. It's really useful to think about Matthew as scribe and shaper of the parable.
As I've been trying to blend an old and a new English language style guide in recent weeks this one verse parable really hit me between the eyes!